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Former Armenian Police Chief Sacked Again


Armenia -- Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan talks to police Colonel Valeri Osipian during a rally in Yerevan, April 29, 2018.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian on Tuesday dismissed his chief adviser Valeri Osipian who headed the Armenian police until last month.

Osipian was given the government post immediately after being sacked as police chief on September 18. He reportedly went on a two-week unpaid leave two days later.

Pashinian and his office gave no clear explanations for his successive decisions to fire Osipian. In a September 18 statement, the police general promised to “talk about the reasons for my departure later on.” He has made no further public statements since then.

Pashinian named Osipian to run the national police service in May 2018 two days after being elected prime minister following weeks of anti-government protests led by him.

Osipian was until then a deputy head of Yerevan’s police department responsible for public order and crowd control. He personally monitored many anti-government rallies staged in the Armenian capital during former President Serzh Sarkisian’s rule. Osipian frequently warned and argued with Pashinian during the 2018 “Velvet Revolution” that toppled Sarkisian.

During his tenure Osipian repeatedly claimed to have eliminated corruption in the police ranks. While not denying this, critics blamed him and the new authorities for Armenia’s rising crime rate.

Osipian was sacked as police chief two days after the resignation of Artur Vanetsian, the influential director of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS). As he announced his resignation Vanetsian criticized Pashinian’s leadership style, saying that it runs counter to “the officer’s honor.” Pashinian hit back at him in equally strong terms.

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